Detectives have issued a warning following an increase in reports of scammers targeting people who access pornographic websites.
Over the past two weeks Cheshire Police has received a number of calls from victims who have been threatened by e-mail and told that their online activity will be exposed unless they agree to pay a lot of money.
In some cases scammers have approached users online, encouraging them to engage in sexual activity over a webcam, and then threatened to expose their activity by posting a video to family and friends unless they make a large cash payment.
A number of incidents have been reported to police over the past couple of weeks by people living across the county including Chester and Macclesfield.
One of the incidents involved a woman from Macclesfield who received an e-mail from a scammer who told her she had been looking at pornographic websites. They claimed to know her password and the scammer then demanded money or they would release all her details. Thankfully the woman knew it was a scam and reported it to police.
Detective Chief Inspector Karen Jaundrill, of Cheshire Police’s Force Intelligence Bureau, said: "We have seen an increase in this type of crime being reported in Cheshire. I want to take this opportunity to let people know about this particular scam to try and stop more people from becoming a victim.
“The advice for anyone who is targeted by scammers in a similar situation is not to panic. You have already taken the first big step by recognising you are a victim and that you need support. Do not under any circumstances feel pressured into paying any money to the offenders or to communicate further with them.
“Instead please report what has happened to Cheshire Police. You are encouraged to do this online at https://cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries, or to report what has happened via Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”